PC

Gears Tactics Review (Xbox Series X)

  • Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
  • Platforms: Xbox Series X/S/One and PC.
  • Developer | Publisher: Splash Damage/The Coalition, Microsoft Game Studios
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18 | ESRB M for Mature
  • Price: UK £54.99 or via game pass| US $59.99 or via game pass
  • Release Date: 10th of November

12 years before the events of the first Gears of War. Cities around the planet of Sera are falling to a monstrous threat, the Locust Horde. We step in the boots as Gabe Diaz, fighting for survival, recruiting fellow Gears on one suicide squad mission, kill the Locust and its head, Ukkon.

Story

We take control of Gabe Diaz, a once decorated COG solider, until shit turned sour at Gatka Ridge. Of course you don’t necessarily need to play any Gears game prior to Tactics. Though it would help in the background and the events that will happen after Tactics, is a hardcore Gear fan wet dream.

The COG (Coalition of Ordered Government’s) has sent Sid Redburn to seek out Gabe Diaz, a now mechanic and demoted to Sgt from the events against the UIR. From the get-go Gabe dislikes the COG hierarchy, especially Chairman Prescott. As times goes on throughout the campaign, you will see Gabe and Sid bond quite well. Not on the Marcus and Dom friendship/brotherhood scale, but enough to make it believable.

Gabe and his squad have one clear mission, kill Ukkon. With no support and completely off the grid. Gabe and Co have to adapt, survive and work as a team to overcome the threat Ukkon poses. With this suicide mission bestow upon him. Its one hell of a ride and another great story added to the Gearsverse. I don’t want to spoil the whole plot, but you get the gist of it all. Its typical styled action story which we experience near enough all the time with such media as film and other games of course.

Tactics continues the great story telling of what previous Gears games have done. Even though Gears 5 kinda went off the rails after Act 2 (my personal opinion of course) Tactics makes up for it and keeps me wanting more.

Gameplay

The big change when it comes to Tactics is the gameplay. Moving away from the staple of run and gun, cover and chainsawing the Locust or swarm now. Tactics is literally what it says Tactics. Taking the X-COM formula, which is superb and easy for console players to pick up and play. Experiencing Gears in a new way plays off quite massively.

You do get the option of permanently losing characters who you will recruit along the way. Just like the X-COM games, you will have to micro-manage, level up squad members and upgrade their gear. Not once did I feel overwhelmed when at first I thought I would be. Completely the opposite I might add. When you see your actions paying off and you end up mowing down the Locust Horde in front of you. It’s a great feeling, not in a sadistic sense of course… Just a great feeling that your ‘tactics’ is paying off and the survival of your squad has increased to see another day.

Throughout missions you will encounter caches on the floor. Pick these up as you unearth some rare gear for the squad be that armour, weapon mods etc. Again, each mission will allow you to select your squad. Which in turn can be a bad thing. Some members of the squad will be forever benched as you will continue to use the 4 guys who are way ahead in stats, to overcome each forthcoming mission. Each solider class is different and unique with their own set of skills, abilities and locked to certain weapons. It’s entirely upto you how you kit out your squad and tackle each mission. If you dislike the look of a certain solider you have recruited. You can alter their appearance to your liking too, adding more customization and giving the players even more options of choice at your disposal. The classes are Support, Sniper, Vanguard, Scout and Heavy. Having one of each class in your squad is the best course of action, as you cannot go wrong.

Make sure to balance out your thrown items too for a tip. Having two members with frags and stim grenades will be a good asset for you. Some missions you can be pitted against the wall, but then again it isn’t exactly overwhelming, though it can be when the grubs come knocking.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

Tactics is a stunning game. It isn’t mind blowing granted, yet it is good looking. A game that released on PC back in April of this year and now released on the Xbox Series X/S and One. I hardly see that much difference from console to PC. However these things can change when playing on a native 4K TV to see the benefits of a next gen console.

Sound, music score is top notch. It’s what I expect of a Gears game with a orchestrated military type music to supplement the sounds of lancer rounds and the shrieking Locust when they eat bullets.

Performance has been ok and steady. A few cut scenes did see some of the characters losing their arms and some stuttering, which I did find amusing but at the same time, how did that get missed on initial bug reporting duty before launching a game already out.

Difficulty

Gears Tactics can be very difficult. If you don’t use your head and plan accordingly, you can severely butt hurt yourself in great fashion. It’s having the right approach, cover all flanking positions and using overwatch can allow you to flank, push ahead and allow the Locust to fall into your trap, if you have one. Selecting a harder difficult is a true test of mental strength. And good on you to try too.

Conclusion

If you are after another Gears game then please check Tactics out. It is on game pass too! It’s a refreshing game and different from the norm when playing Tactics. It still keeps the ethos that the Gears games bring with it.

Verdict
It’s grub killing time, but tactically. Get your thinking cap on Sgt, as it’s time to deliver boots to backsides.

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